One Month in Trondheim -Reflections from Drama For Life Students

Moratoa Trinity Ramusi

Greetings from Trondheim,

I am in love with this place. I’m trying very hard to not make home sound too bad but man, this is a well oiled machine.From the efficient and user friendly transport system, to the morality in forgetting your bag in the bus, and actually finding it again, to the friendly people and the endless discoveries of how like you, they too, are here by a sheer stroke of perfect timing and destiny.

Okay, enough with my tourist reviews!
Now for the business that actually brought me here: DRA3000 Research Methods in Theatre and Performance. My experience of Performance as Research (PaR) in my first semester at Wits, (well here, we are leaning more towards Practice as Research and I can actually tell the difference) was... I guess in the 6 months of trying to figure it all out, I couldn’t really explain it. 
My inability to embrace it at all was based on the fact that I’m extremely “scientific” in my way of thinking. I’d never imagined listening to my body before picking up a pen or doing something as weird writing down my dreams to get in tune with my consciousness. It all seemed bizarre to me. So I sat frustrated every Tuesday afternoon because I was never taught to think through a “hunch” or a “feeling” or “what draws me” or my body.

Hmm, what other things have I been taught that I’ve never dared to question?
And so, lightbulb after lightbulb in room D115, Dragvoll Campus NTNU.“Theory!!!!!!! There’s theory! I think to myself. I mean that’s the way I think. Give me structure, order and a plan of what to expect and I’m with you. Oh but the irony. Because here I am, telling my classmates to relax, the body will know! This contention with PaR was due to the fact  that I could not give it a name, an origin, it’s key concepts and why this kind of research, clearly in my head. I could not see beyond the opportunity of trying to conduct research in unfamiliar ways. Now, It all makes sense. There are just some things that we as practitioners can never discover with our heads buried in a book. How are you going to call yourself  a “practitioner” if “practice” is not your mode of inquiry or communication? It took coming all the way here, sitting back and reflecting post my PaR exam in June, discovering new names and reading some new books to actually be able to put this phenomena in words! (Hehe that’s a bit of phenomenology as well)
Now I’m hanging out with the likes of Nicholson, Kershaw , Johnston, Nelson like we grew up together and I’m schooling them about PaR. Our lectures are structured in such a way that there is dialogue exchange and seminar presentations. These challenge me to always be on top of my game and to know who and what I am talking about. 

My hat goes off to Heli Altonen for starting us off with phenomenology and hermeneutics with such passion and vigor. It also didn’t make sense in the beginning but those concepts have are grounded in a good place for research. I am beginning to fully understand what praxis entails. This is powered by the innovative, structured and enthusiastic teaching of Vigdis Aune. I’m always looking forward to each class. Who would’ve known, it’s all about perspective.

Last week Friday we went to Cirka Theatre to watch the most amazing theatre performance. The set? (Scenography rather) was out of this world. No wonder it claimed a national award. I am particularly in awe of it (apologies for not knowing the name) because it is so much in line with my final research project in terms of the 4th industrial revolution and the classroom of the future. It was the perfect snowflake. I am indeed, learning a lot. But mostly, living a lot more and discovering even more than that.